Tha Near Cut

Author: Hazel Bennett

Date: 2001

Source: Ullans: The Magazine for Ulster-Scots, Nummer 8 Hairst 2001

Hazel Bennett

Vintage car

“Cum on,” sez Conor suddenlik. “Thon’s tha near cut bak til Bilfawst.”

“It cudnae be,” Dorothy argied. “We cum tha direck road. Hoo cud it be a near cut gin we hae cum alang a straucht gate?”

Conor redd his thrapple. “A hae bin this wye afore. Tak it fae me, ye gang roon tae tha left an gang owre tha braes: ye wull be bak in tha mids o Bilfawst in nae time ava.” Dorothy glaid her fit cannielik on tae tha brake o her oul motòr, a Morris Minor, an taen a wee keek intae tha lukin-gless, mair fur tae see tha luk on tha nebs o tha yins in tha bak sait nor tae mak cartain thar wusnae onie motòrs ahint thaim.

“Whit dae ye think?” scho axed Gerald an Valerie.

“Conor maun be richt,” Gerald reponed quäck.

“Whit dae ye think, Val?”

“Dinnae ax me, Dot. Ye ken A hae nae wittens o this pairt o tha toun.” Valerie taen a keek at Gerald at wusnae at her aise. Wus thar a hint o a smirk juist stairtin tae cum on his fizog? Thrawnlik Dorothy pu’ed tha steerin wheel withershins an her blak Morris Minor gaed wast. Conor tuk his aise fornent her in tha front sait an Valerie stairtit tae ax hersel gif the wurnae daft.

Tha stairt o tha seventies wus ill times in Bilfawst. Tae meet in wi twa lads at a disco wusnae tha siccar thing tae dae at hit wus ten yeir syne. The axed tha lads whit schuil the gaed til, juist tae mak shure the wurnae fae tha tither side. Val haed tae mind scho haed ae brither in tha poliss. Hit wisnae at the wur narra nebbit agin a bodie at dug wi tha tither fit. Mair at the haed tae kep thaimsels siccar. Ye haed tae be shure at ye didnae finn at ye haed a sibness wi a bodie at wud gar ye grue, or waur. Ye cud fin yersel in wi a loun at wis an acteeve terrorist fur tha fae. Val’s mither aye sez at, gin ye fun yersel in wi a wrang yin o yer ain soart ye cud aye rin awa fae hit, maistly unhairmed.

The haed axed Gerald an Conor whar the leeved an bin onlie vexed a wee tae hear at the cum fae a troubled airt on tha mairches o tha citie. Dear kens, there wus eneuch tae be cannie aboot wi’oot haein tae haud whar a lad leeves agin him.

Val stairtit tae think lang anent whit haed gane on the nicht. Braisantlik the haed gane tae tha disco howpin tae cleek. The liked tha twa lads. The wur gegs an gart thaim lauch. The wur auld billies thairsels forbye. Cosie, tha fower o thaim bis aye braver than juist tha yin couple gif ye dinnae ken tha lads sae guid. Whan tha disco wus near owre, Dot sez, “Luk yous twa, A wull lat ye hurl in ma motòr tae tha mids o Bilfawst an ye can tak a taxi bak tae yer ain hoose. Bot a binnae fur takkin yis baith tae Ardoyne tha nicht.”

“Aw cum on, hit bis brave an sauf A warrant yis. We hae tae gae there ilka nicht.”

“Sairie,” Dorothy wis richt an thraw. “We aa gaes whaur we chuise an A chuise nae tae be gangin fornent or inby thon bluidie pairt.”

Conor haed argied an fleeched tae little matter. Val haed stairted tae doot gif tha lads haed bided wi thaim acause Dot haed a caur. Scho weil minded Conor axin, “whit wey ye cum here the nicht.”

“A driv us here in ma caur,” Dot haed reponed proodlik, kennin at thae wud be pit on. A braid grin haed spreed richt owe Conor’s neb. Dot haed thocht it wis respect, bot Val wunnered gif there waur ae sellie rizzon in thir guid will at tha baur.

“Thons a brave muinlicht nicht. A hae a souch o romance. Wull we gae fer a rin,” sez Conor, whan thai haed heft beinlie intae tha caur.

“Bot it bis tha twal o nicht,” Val haed argied.

“Hae ye nae sinse o adventure?” Gerald fleetched.

“We hae tae gae til oor darg tha morrow.”

“Ye bis yammering lik ma mither.” Thon wis hit. Nae muckle dunt cud ye pit on a quine.

“Aa richt, sae lang as yis accep at A cannae gae tae onie pairt fornent tha Ardoyne.”

“O coorse, Dorothy. We winnae. Dinnae fash yersel, we dinnae doot at ye cannae tak us hame.” Dot luked plaisit at scho haed at leist wan tha threap. Val thocht thir suddent interess in tha braw nicht a bit oot o kilter wi tha material thochts the haed taked o earlier. Conor blethered wi pleesure. Gerald jined in. Dorothy spak onlie tae ax whit gate tae gae. Val wunnered whit tha Hell neist wud fa thaim.

As tha blek Morris Minor trinnled owe tha braes, tha wee smirk on Gerald’s bake spreed intae a muckle smirk. Val haudit her wheesht an tha lichts o norn Bilfawst kythed ablow thaim. As tha caur trinnled yont tha mile stane fer Crumlin, scho stairted tae ken whaur the waur an at the waur juist aboot tae gae doon tha Crumlin Road.

“Juist stap on tha ker at thon bus stap,” Conor proponed wi a smirk on his bake.

“Whit fer? Whaur ir we?”

“Ardoyne, o coorse. Thon’s oor hoose. Thenkin ye baith fer tha hurl. Wull we see yis tha ook neist, gif ye bes at tha disco.”



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